AP Photo/Randall Benton
The Chicago Bulls are 10-14 and have lost eight of their last 12 games. That puts them in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, a spot that wouldn’t even give the team a spot in the NBA Play-In tournament at the end of the 2022-23 season.
Is it time to reflect that Chicago is a seller at the February 9th close? Or is it still too early for that?
Anyhow, the rumor mill continues to churn, with some key Bulls players being mentioned in the excitement. According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, some teams are keeping an eye on the situation in Chicago.
“Many NBA executives I’ve spoken to in the league are closely watching the Bulls as they have been underwhelmed and Lonzo Ball’s health is a big question mark,” he wrote.
Scotto reported that there was “a lot of interest” in DeMar DeRozan and that some will likely be interested in Zach LaVine. Nikola Vučević is also a player who could appear in the trade.
“His value since he came to Chicago has gone down comparatively when Chicago did this blockbuster trade to get him,” Scotto wrote of the Montenegrin.
With all these talented players in the Bulls roster, it’s a little surprising that they didn’t play better early in the season. They ended a four-year playoff drought last year and it seemed likely they would build on that accomplishment.
Instead, Chicago hasn’t streaked more than two straight wins in its first 24 games. It was also wrong-ended in some competitive matchups.
Still, it might be a bit early for the team to consider a deal with DeRozan, LaVine or Vučević. They might not have the ball, but they have a solid core of players with a proven track record who should do better as a unit.
If Chicago insists on trading one, Vučević would probably be the best choice.
The 32-year-old will be a free agent by the end of the season and his numbers are down a bit. It would yield a smaller yield, but DeRozan and LaVine are more important to the bulls’ long-term future.
Sure, DeRozan and LaVine could land sizable yield packages in Chicago that likely include significant draft capital. But the Bulls are also just a half game from a one-seat game and two and a half games from the Indiana Pacers, who are ranked 6th in the East.
That’s why the next two months will be important for Chicago. If things really got out of hand, it might be wiser for the team to explore these trading markets. At this point the situation will be clearer.
For now, however, Chicago should stick to its core players and try to get its season on track. The Bulls have talent, so they just have to get out there and show it in games better.